Lesson Plan

When Hateful Symbols Cause Hurt and Harm

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GRADE LEVEL: Elementary, Middle School

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, Language

SEL STANDARDS*: Self Awareness, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, Responsible Decision-Making

The Importance of Symbols

Symbols are all around us. We see symbols as we are walking and driving, on buildings and billboards, in schools, outdoors, and in restaurants and stores. Symbols fill our digital devices and online spaces and we use symbols to communicate with each other. Unfortunately, we also see hate symbols all around us—in those same places and spaces. Hate symbols can be very powerful in how they convey or express messages of hate, bias, prejudice and injustice and instill a threatening and unsafe environment. Because bias incidents in schools often include hate symbols, discussing hate symbols is an important conversation to have in schools and classrooms.

About the Lesson Plan

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to understand what symbols are and their importance in society, reflect on hate symbols and the harm they cause, and consider and start to plan actions they can take to address hate symbols. 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Students will identify and describe the importance of symbols.

  • Students will gain insight into the meaning of symbols by sharing and exploring their thoughts and feelings.

  • Students will reflect on how hate symbols can cause hurt and harm to individuals, identity groups and society.

  • Students will consider what actions they and others can take when faced with hate symbols.

* Based on CASEL's SEL Framework